Late last year, Kaustubh Das unveiled our ambitious vision for the Intersight Hybrid Cloud Operations Platform. Today, we are excited to share details of the latest updates and new services in the industry’s smartest and simplest cloud operations platform.
Today, applications are at the very core of the digital experience for most enterprises. Companies in every industry use software and applications to engage with their customers. And it is imperative for enterprises to ensure that their applications run smoother, faster, and more reliably in order to provide a superior user experience.
IT operations and software teams work in a hybrid cloud reality—their world consists of on-prem infrastructure across datacenters, edge, branch, or colo sites, as well as public cloud IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS services. Add to this labyrinth the fact that application architectures are changing dramatically as developers work with cloud-native technologies, such as containers and serverless functions. At the same time, traditional applications running on bare metal servers and virtual machines continue to be used—and we expect this to be the case, possibly, for decades to come.
This complex IT ecosystem, combined with the pressure to keep applications running reliably, creates an extremely challenging environment for CIOs and IT operations teams. They must keep the lights on and the apps humming while constantly adapting, innovating, and modernizing.
IT teams must support both traditional and modern applications on premises as well as in public clouds and no operating model existed that could analyze, manage, and orchestrate these disparate environments and technologies using one simple and unified platform. So, we created Cisco Intersight.
Intersight allows for simplified management of a hybrid cloud ecosystem composed of traditional and cloud-native applications. It enables application developers and operations teams to collaborate seamlessly. In musical terms, while various trends may come and go, rock and roll is here to stay. We are just making it simpler to listen to heavy metal, hip hop, rock and roll, and opera in one happy household, with no conflicts!
The Cloud Is an Operating Model, Not a Destination
This belief defines Cisco Intersight. So, what do we mean by it?
Instead of considering the cloud an asset, a mandate, or a destination, we define it as the core operating model for IT services. With this mindset, our mission was to build a single, agile, cloud-native platform for private and public cloud services; one that offers automation, observability, and simplifies the management of infrastructure and workloads. Intersight delivers faster services while allowing continuous optimization and cross-environment visibility. It allows you to operate your traditional infrastructure with the agility of the cloud, while adding stability and reliability to your cloud-native applications.
Everything on your premises, at the network edge, in your datacenters, and in your public cloud environments can be managed together as a synthesized hybrid infrastructure with unified tooling and a single operating model.
Accelerating DevOps with Infrastructure-as-Code
Revolutionary simplicity is the heart of our vision for an operating platform for hybrid cloud automation. And DevOps practices are the heart of IT modernization.
Operations teams are minimizing time to innovation by integrating infrastructure operations with application CI/CD pipelines. Intersight seamlessly supports this modern operational model. It is architected with an API-based core where every single action can be executed either on the GUI or via Intersight’s REST API. Based on the OpenAPI framework, these APIs can be invoked via auto-generated Ansible playbooks or Terraform providers.
Using this highly programmable infrastructure-as-code model, Intersight transforms traditionally manual datacenter operations—enabling highly automated application deployment. The result is extreme self-service agility for developers and applications teams.
Intersight’s Outcome-Driven Functionality
Intersight is a cloud-delivered SaaS platform that is also available as an on-prem self-hosted appliance for customers looking for non-SaaS or air-gapped options.
The Intersight cloud operations platform offers the following:
- On-prem cloud:
- A full stack multi-tenant cloud platform that converts your datacenter, edge, branch, or colo to a true distributed private cloud.
- Modern infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), including bare metal-as-a-service, virtual machines-as-a-service, Kubernetes-as-a-service, and serverless-function-as-a-service. (Serverless function support will be available later in 2021.)
- Unified tooling for hybrid cloud operations:
- Hybrid cloud automation and orchestration, which includes infrastructure-as-code automation, as well as low-code workflow orchestration.
- Hybrid cloud observability for real-time visibility and optimization of hybrid cloud workloads that support bare metal, VMs, and containers.
Let’s dive a little deeper and examine Intersight’s individual services.
Intersight is architected as a capabilities-as-a-service platform sharing common backend services that provide single-sign-on (SSO), role-based access control (RBAC), a common inventory, and shared APIs and SDKs.
Since Intersight’s launch, we have delivered new and updated Intersight services every few months. Intersight’s cloud-native, micro-service, SaaS architecture; and its dynamic CI/CD development model allow us to innovate rapidly and deliver at an unprecedented pace—weekly updates automatically roll-out for all our customers.
Below are descriptions of new and updated services in the Intersight suite. These seven services have been released already or will be available in the next few months.
- Intersight Infrastructure Service
The Intersight Infrastructure Service is how we started the Intersight journey, back in 2017. It provides Intersight’s foundational infrastructure management service for monitoring, provisioning, troubleshooting, and proactive maintenance of Cisco UCS and HyperFlex. The latest innovation in the Intersight Infrastructure Service is Intersight Managed Mode. This is a new architecture that manages the UCS Fabric Interconnected systems through a Redfish-based standard model; supports UCS rack and blade servers; and unifies the management experience for standalone UCS and Fabric-Interconnect-attached UCS systems. Intersight Managed Mode brings the simplicity of policy-based server management to the entire UCS portfolio of rack and blade servers. It is now available.
- Intersight Workload Optimizer
In December, we launched the Intersight Workload Optimizer — the first of the hybrid cloud services offered with Intersight. It was also the industry’s first SaaS-delivered hybrid cloud infrastructure and workload observability service. Intersight Workload Optimizer is unique as it maps any application to infrastructure, including bare metal workloads, VMs, containers, and public cloud PaaS architectures. And it allows real-time diagnosis and remediation of application fault, efficiency, and performance. As a testament to the simplicity and ease of adoption of SaaS-delivered hybrid cloud services, in just over two quarters, since its launch, over 350 customers have purchased and activated Intersight Workload Optimizer as part of their hybrid cloud operations.
- Intersight Kubernetes Service
The recently launched Intersight Kubernetes Service is a simple management service for creating Kubernetes clusters, in minutes, across edge, datacenters, or public clouds. It allows Infrastructure admins and operators to enable a K8s-as-a-service container cloud on any supported infrastructure; and developers and DevOps teams can build and manage K8s clusters on-demand using a simple REST API or Terraform module. VMware ESXi hypervisors and additional hypervisor and cloud targets will be added shortly.
- Cisco Service Mesh Manager
In addition to K8s cluster management, Intersight Kubernetes Service allows users to add extensions or add-ons to their Kubernetes clusters. The first major Intersight Kubernetes Service extension that Cisco is offering is the Service Mesh Manager, enabling broad observability, convenient management, and policy-based security to modern container-based applications. The Service Mesh Manager is the first offering in Cisco’s cloud-native connectivity software service portfolio that was announced recently by Liz Centoni, Chief Strategy Officer of Cisco.
Initially supported with the Istio service mesh, Cisco Service Mesh Manager offers unprecedented simplicity in the deployment, upgrade, policy-based management, and multi-cluster observability of Istio services meshes. It enables separation of concerns between applications and site-reliability engineering (SRE) teams, allowing applications teams to focus on the application logic and SRE teams to independently control the security and management features in production. SRE and operations teams can de-risk upgrades using a canary model; find root causes; monitor service level objectives; and gain automated introspection and control of tenant clusters by observing and scaling services automatically. Designed for seamless deployment on complex topologies, Service Mesh Manager leverages a production-grade Istio distribution for high availability.
- Intersight Service for HashiCorp Terraform
In March, we announced a major technology and commercial partnership with HashiCorp to integrate Intersight with HashiCorp Terraform Cloud Business to bring the power of SaaS-delivered infrastructure-as-code (IaC) automation to private and hybrid clouds. Intersight Service for Terraform allows DevOps teams to simplify the adoption of IaC automation on premises. This integration helps bridge the gap between InfraOps and DevOps, enabling a seamless SaaS/IaC experience for the private and public cloud. The Intersight Service for HashiCorp Terraform was recently released and is now available as part of the Intersight platform.
- Intersight Cloud Orchestrator
Intersight Cloud Orchestrator is an easy-to-use, low-code orchestrator that allows users to provision and orchestrate infrastructure and workloads across private and public cloud without coding skills. The intuitive GUI-based workflow designer simplifies the creation and execution of complex automation workflows and users benefit from a pre-built catalog of curated tasks and workflows that make the automation journey faster and smoother, while reducing risk. Intersight Cloud Orchestrator is now available.
Between the Service for Terraform and the Cloud Orchestrator, Intersight provides users with a powerful array of automation tooling for hybrid clouds whether you’re a code jockey who wants to use infra-as-code or you just want the ease and simplicity of GUI-based low-code automation.
- Intersight Workload Engine
As workloads are going through a cloud-native transformation, we decided to build, from the ground up, a new architecture for modern applications—Intersight Workload Engine. This is an all-in-one, hyperconverged, enterprise-grade, highly available platform with an integrated hypervisor and host-clustering software. It runs VMs, containers, and bare metal Kubernetes workloads simultaneously on the same infrastructure. Using curated open-source technology for container-native virtualization, Intersight Workload Engine integrates with HyperFlex to provide a next-generation hyperconverged architecture for traditional virtual machine and cloud-native workloads.
Built into Intersight, the Workload Engine integrates server management, cluster lifecycle operations, and storage management, as well as VM lifecycle and Kubernetes cluster management. It collapses multiple layers of complexity into a single cohesive architecture. Intersight Workload Engine for Kubernetes will enter beta trials next month and will be generally available shortly after.
Attention: Hybrid Cloud Speculators
As I stated above, Cisco is on a mission to transform IT operations by delivering an operating model for hybrid cloud that is simple, intuitive, and that drastically reduces time to innovation. The Intersight platform transforms your ever-expanding datacenter sprawl into a pristine piece of cloud-front property with a panoramic view of the future!
If that’s not cloud smart, what is?
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more blogs about Intersight and its inner workings. Please feel free to post your comments or questions and I will be sure to respond. Intersight was built for you. Your views matter to us.
Developers, visit the DevNet Cloud Dev Center for our latest hybrid cloud resources for Intersight:
Join us on June 24th, for a day of product demos, and get a closer look at our new hybrid cloud innovations, including new Cisco Intersight services and capabilities.
Resources to get started: